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Guest Blog: Product Expansion, Customer On-boarding, Regulation and other Highlights from MeritDirect’s Midwest Marketing Roundtable

Terence Flynn, Founder and President of Market Chord Direct, always delivers a great day when he assists with our events.  Earlier this month, Terry moderated our Midwest Marketing Roundtable in Milwaukee, WI as we covered the special challenges faced by the modern direct marketer as well as case studies and new trends in data and direct marketing for catalogers and B2B Marketers alike.  A few words from Terry on the day:  

It was another engaging discussion amongst marketing leaders at the Midwest Marketing Roundtable, with over a dozen companies represented across the spectrum. Early in the day, we had a great discussion around product merchandising strategy and assortment expansion sparked by a presentation from Nicole Westenberger, VP Marketing & Ecommerce at Brady. Whether opportunistic or as a defense against Amazon’s ubiquity, most marketers were in favor of growing assortment to increase AOV and/or retention.

Midday, we conducted another Customer Experience exercise to test the process of product and vendor discovery. The activity highlighted major opportunities for companies to improve search (desktop and mobile) and lead management. It was a good reminder that how we name and describe out top products remains a critical marketing challenge.

We spent the afternoon discussing new customer on-boarding strategies and the ability to define unique “second order” tactics based on a welcome series of touches. In concert with this was a discussion of channel integration and the combination of calling with mail drops to improve overall response – both with existing customers and with prospecting.

Common challenges with Tariffs, Freight, Amazon and more we also covered during the day, with a wide range of approaches shared and debated. Recent tax rulings were less impactful for this primarily B2B group, but the tariff impact looms large for many and decisions about passing through increases (line listed or embedded) vs. absorbing the increases were unique to each member – with the potential impacts still unknown.

In the end, it was striking this year that the amount of new testing from the prior 12 months was relatively low (perhaps due to political and economic uncertainty), but in a generally favorable environment in the coming days, there is a great opportunity to increase testing in the near term – with plenty of ideas from the day to choose from!


Terence Flynn
Founder and President
Market Chord Direct


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